Finland's Prime Minister Blames Apple For Credit Downgrade

Finland's Prime Minister Alexander Stubb says Apple products are behind the decline of Finland's tech and paper industries.

Finland's Prime Minister Blames Apple For Credit Downgrade
Magnus Fröderberg / CC BY 2.5 DK

It seems like Apple is a popular scapegoat these days — the company's been blamed for everything from bent iPhones and lost hair to a manufacturer's bankruptcy and surprise U2 albums.

But the credit downgrade of an entire country? That's a new one.

Finland's Prime Minister Alexander Stubb went on CNBC Monday to discuss his country's recent slip from AAA to AA+ by the Standard and Poors rating agency. Part of his explanation for the downgrade involved the Cupertino company. (Video via Channel 4)

"We have two industrial problems, two champions which went down. ... One could say that the iPhone killed Nokia, and the iPad killed the Finnish paper industry. But we'll make a comeback."

Stubb's first claim is understandable: Finnish electronics maker Nokia, which is now owned by Microsoft, has struggled to compete with companies like Apple and Samsung in the smartphone market.

The prime minister's taken shots at Apple over Nokia's fate before — back in July, he remarked "Steve Jobs took our jobs," referencing both Nokia and paper again.

The connection between Apple and Finland's two declining paper giants is perhaps a bit murkier, but tablets and e-readers have been seen as direct competitors to books and newspapers.

And the iPad is about as ubiquitous as tablets get — it's even used by certain prime ministers of Finland.

To be fair, Stubb later qualified his comments on Twitter, saying he wasn't trying to blame Apple directly, but was instead citing examples of Finland's weakened economy

But that distinction was lost on many Apple fans, who were quick to point out Nokia takes in an estimated $650 million a year in licensing fees from Apple, and the paper industry was in decline years before the iPad hit the scene.

Whatever the cause, a Bloomberg writer says the decline of Finland, previously touted as a model European economy during the Eurozone crisis, "should tell European governments to get to work on their economies' competitiveness."

Stubb says the credit downgrade has been a "wake-up call" for his country, but remains positive about Finland's future. In the CNBC interview, the prime minister touted bio-energy and the newly-restructured Nokia Networks as potential avenues for growth.

This video includes images from Getty Images and Magnus Fröderberg / CC BY 2.5 DK.